Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Marts see demand grow for pedigree dairy stock

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Fancy prices are being paid for dairy cows and heifers as milk suppliers look to ramp up production this spring.

A lively trade was reported for mature cows, calved heifers and maiden heifers at Bandon Mart last week. Mart manager Tom McCarthy said close to 80 cows were on offer last week, with the bulk of the stock coming from pedigree herds.

Cows born in 2004-05 generally sold for between €1,400 and €1,500/hd, while younger stock made from €1,500 to €1,700/hd.

Mr McCarthy said calved heifers sold for between €1,100 and €1,500/hd. The best of the prices were paid for pedigree registered stock that had "nice bags", he added.

Fourteen maiden heifers went under the hammer, with most making between €720 and €860/hd. The mart manager said that a definite swing towards pedigree stock was evident from the sale.

This was due to the increased emphasis on protein in the A+B-C milk payment system, Mr McCarthy explained. He added that a major outbreak of TB in West Cork meant pedigree stock were in greater demand because they were worth more from a valuation perspective.


At Enniscorthy Mart calved heifers generally sold for €1,200 to €1,400/hd but high EBI stock made up to €1,500. Third calved cows made around €1,000/hd.

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Meanwhile, concern has been expressed for the future of jobs at the Golden Vale distribution centre in Cookstown, Tallaght, which is in line to be purchased by Glanbia as part of their takeover of Kerry Group's Dawn Dairies operation in Limerick.

Up to 45 people are employed at the Dublin site, which handled the sale of Golden Vale milk in the Dublin area. The staff are involved in sales, distribution, administration and merchandising.

The Dublin operation takes around 40pc of 34m-litre milk pool which is processed by Dawn Dairies in Limerick.

With Glanbia having a strong presence in the Dublin market through Premier Dairies, it is feared many of the jobs at Cookstown will be lost should Glanbia's offer be given the green light by the Competition Authority.

Up to 160 people are employed by Dawn Dairies in Limerick and Cookstown. All employees transferred to Glanbia as part of the sale.

"This acquisition is subject to regulatory approval so we cannot comment on aspects of the business until this is achieved," a spokesperson for Glanbia said.

"Our immediate focus then will be on integrating this business into our own. As part of the process, as is standard, we will enter into a process of consultation with employees and their representatives to agree the details of the integration process," she added.

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